Charles Martin Hall, age 22, circa 1885.
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Black and white portrait of a young man in a suit.

Credit: Courtesy of Alcoa Incorporated

In 1886, just one year after graduating from Oberlin College, Charles Martin Hall invented a process for extracting aluminum from bauxite ore by electrolysis. Hall's process helped give birth to the modern aluminum industry and made him a very wealthy man. In 1888 Hall and a group of partners and investors opened the Pittsburgh Reduction Company. Renamed Aluminum Company of America in 1907, Alcoa would become the world's largest producer of aluminum and aluminum products.

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